Amy Grant is the most successful Christian singer around. Vince Gill is a country music superstar. The two met in 1993 to work together on his Christmas show. It was love at first sight for both of them. They would perhaps call it an instant recognition of a kindred spirit.
But they were each married to others.
Vince had been married to Janice Oliver since 1980 and had a daughter with her. Vince doesn’t really speak of his previous marriage. It certainly doesn’t seem to have been a bad marriage. But Janice was not exactly keen on Amy’s presence in Vince’s life, especially since the chemistry and affection between the two was so obvious to just about everyone around them.
When she found a note from Amy to Vince that said “I love you, Amy”, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Janice was devastated and asked Vince to stop any kind of contact to Amy. He refused. It was the beginning of the end for their marriage.
Janice couldn’t accept that Vince did not have an affair with Amy, something the two have always denied, and pointed out that it didn’t have to be a physical relationship for it to be an affair. Janice was not wrong.
Vince and Janice divorced in 1997 and Janice received a payout between $9 and $20 million, depending on his royalties. But it sounds as if she had rather kept her man than take his money.
Amy reportedly found out about the divorce in the newspaper. Her own marriage wasn’t a happy one. She said on more than one occasion that it had been a struggle since the beginning.
Amy and Gary Chapman met in 1979 when he wrote a song for her. The two began an on/off relationship and eventually married in 1982. Both devoutly Christian they believed in their vows and did everything to make the marriage work. They had three children together, but that didn’t make for a happy family or a happy marriage.
According to Amy the couple first sought marriage counselling in 1986. Over the years the two probably went through every kind of counselling there is, including counselling offered by the church.
They worked hard on their marriage and nobody ever said that relationships don’t need work, but at some point Amy had to wonder, if it should be this hard. Especially in light of her easy relationship to Vince.
By 1998 Amy had come to the conclusion that she could no longer fight for something she didn’t believe in. Divorce was a very difficult thing for her to face given that she is such a faithful Christian. If anything, Gary is even more faithful and he reportedly begged Amy on his knees to keep working on it.
In the end they entered into divorce mediation guided by their church as well. Some people simply don’t belong together and after 16 years of struggle the two had to admit defeat. Amy was ready to let go, Gary was not. So she filed for divorce in 1999 citing irreconcilable differences. It is remarkable how long they worked on their marriage, how long they persisted, yet in the end it was to no avail.
They were divorced that same year and shared custody over their children. Amy had moved out of the family home and bought a new home elsewhere.
Soon after the split from Gary she started seeing Vince officially. To this day, however, the two deny that they had an affair prior to that. After all these years one would fail to see why they should be lying, especially since it’s obviously to anyone that they belong together.
Amy especially received quite a bit of backlash for her divorce and for then starting a relationship with Vince, whom she had been suspected to have an affair with for years. Some Christian stations stopped playing her music.
Amy chose not to address the rumours or the backlash. She was not in charge of what people thought or felt and she had enough on her hands trying to make her blended family work. Vince and Amy admit that it wasn’t easy in the beginning. The pair married in May 2000 and especially her children, aged 7 to 12 then, weren’t exactly thrilled.
Vince credits the birth of their daughter in 2001 with bringing the family together. The new baby was related to all of them by blood and it helped them become a family.
The two will be celebrating their 16th anniversary soon and couldn’t be happier. In a few years they will have been married to each other for longer than they had been to their previous spouses. Gary at least is happily remarried as well.
Looking back, pretty much everyone who knows their story is inclined to believe that Amy Grant and Vince Gill have been meant for each other from the beginning. Given that that’s how things played out in the end, one is hard-pressed to argue against that.